The Philadelphia Inquirer characterized a group of about 100 people carrying bats, hammers, and shovels in the Fishtown neighborhood Monday evening as "nearly all white males" who said they were walking the streets to protect their homes and businesses from looters and rioters.
Content warning: Language:
Y’all, this is@whats happening in fishtown in Philly. https://t.co/4YOqrU5low— Kamala Kelkar (@Kamala Kelkar) 1591054379.0
At one point, the paper said the group argued with younger neighbors lined up across Girard Avenue who wanted the armed group to leave.
"Leave us alone!" one woman yelled, the paper reported. "We live here, and they're making us feel unsafe!"
"Why were others teargassed for peacefully protesting but they could walk around with bats and be protected?" one woman asked, the Inquirer said.
One man who appeared to be wielding a hatchet was taken into police custody, the Inquirer added.
A surreal video posted to Twitter showed police officers posing for photos apparently with Fishtown residents as a man stood on a roof with a rifle:
@PhillyMayor are you going to do anything about these violent white men? Or just peaceful protestors? #fishtown… https://t.co/M6AlO25hgC— Harold Lanham (@Harold Lanham) 1591064580.0
There were plenty of reactions on Twitter about the group of armed men, calling them everything from "vigilantes" to "white supremacists."
One Twitter user posted video and called them "white armed vigilante groups" and said they had the "blessing" of police:
There are now two all white armed vigilante groups roaming Fishtown with the blessing of the @phillypolice https://t.co/csGWCDZ6Nw— Josh Albert (@Josh Albert) 1591054190.0
Another Twitter user called the group "MAGA scum":
My hood’s a mess right now. Philly protestors on your way into Fishtown: There’s MAGA scum w/ blunt force weaponry… https://t.co/j6g8HYcBzL— Josh Goldbloom (@Josh Goldbloom) 1591050296.0
One scene got particularly ugly, as a few members of the group confronted Black Lives Matter protesters and challenged them to a fight if they bothered police.
"Anyone who wants to throw s**t at a cop or pick on a cop, pick one of us ... and we'll go around the corner and fight ya's one on one," one man said.
Toward the end of the clip another man ripped up a protester's BLM sign while the first man used an anti-gay slur.
Content warning: Language, slur:
Meanwhile in #Philly: my friend shot this video of assholes threatening protestors and "defending the cops" ... sta… https://t.co/3chjvYn2om— Ellen Degenerate (@Ellen Degenerate) 1591059389.0
As it happens a few scenes overnight in Fishtown demonstrated that the concerns of the armed group of men may have been justified:
Overnight several ATM’s were blown up....this video was sent to Action News, showing an ATM on York street in front… https://t.co/9vybyuCAaO— Katie Katro (@Katie Katro) 1591114229.0
Thugs and Antifa blowing up ATMs in Philadelphia so they can steal cash. 7th and Girard, trying to blow an ATM.… https://t.co/LmfLsbCZyx— Gags ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (@Gags ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️) 1591092145.0
#fishtown #philly broo no way how’d they find the keys, they rlly takin all the cars 💀philly wildin lmk where yous… https://t.co/ICcQfTuak9— 🐍💉 (@🐍💉) 1591072866.0